8 Things You Need To Know About Terrorist Decision Making
The following is from the influential UK-based CREST website and well-known terrorism researcher, Paul Gill.
Paul Gill gives a breakdown on eight things terrorists consider when making a planning an attack, from an analyse of over 80 terrorist autobiographies
Terrorists from a wide array of ideological influences and organisational structures consider security and risk on a continuous and rational basis. Of course, the rationality of terrorism has been long observed. Traditionally, authors considered the rational adoption of terrorism as a strategy or a tactic. More recently, and perhaps more interestingly, they have examined the kinds of rational decisions and behaviours that underpin the planning and commissioning of a terrorist attack.
Our recent research for a CREST-funded project on terrorist planning and decision making in the context of risk, led to us analyse over 80 terrorist autobiographies. Here are eight lessons from our study.
4. Internal feelings
Subjective factors play a large role in terrorist cost-benefit analyses. Many accounts of the planning phase note internal feelings of ‘tension’, ‘stress’, ‘frayed nerves’, ‘doubt’, ‘frustration’, ‘paranoia’, ‘fear’, ‘inborn sense of danger’, ‘premonition of disaster’, ‘highly sensitised’, ‘hyper-aware’, ‘anxious’, and ‘scared’. Such feelings were also common during the commission of an attack. Attackers note physiological reactions like ‘hand shaking’, ‘heart thumped like a drum’, and an ‘inability to sleep.’